Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Had a dream about the first day of school last night. I had gotten into my room (for the first time) about 5 minutes before students started arriving. I had no material copied for them. The room was an irregular trapezoid (instead of a rectangle) with a nice view out a window, a white board across 2 sides and a chalk board across another (in the back, behind the students). There was writing ALL over the white board.

So, I'm introducing myself and the class and I have NO ROOM to write notes because, while there are markers, there is no eraser in the room.

Can you say IMPROVISE?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thumb tacks

I don't know if it's true at your school, but I find that I cannot use thumbtacks. I have now taught for several years in multiple schools and, whether it is a middle school or a high school, if I put papers up using thumbtacks, the kids take them down and throw them at each other. So I end up stapling the papers to the bulletin board.

I wonder why this is.

I also had a problem with the middle schoolers breaking pencils to throw at each other but hadn't had a problems with the students in high school until this year.

It reminds me of visiting the zoo, where certain animals throw the only things they can, but I refrain from mentioning this to my students.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Education Funding

That sounds so dry. I was reading ukiahcoachbrown.blogspot.com (A Passion for Teaching and Opinions) discuss the economic situation in California. One high school is being told to cur spending 85%. No, there isn't a missing decimal.

Last year, the teachers in our school had to buy our own paper. I learned to use every rebate possibility out there, imperative since I have trouble getting kids to write good notes and I taught without a book.

The notes the kids would take would look like 10, where I had written "If you have a triangle with legs 6 and 8 inches, what would the hypotenuse be? 6*6 + 8*8 = 36 + 64 = 100 square inches. The square root of that is 10 inches [all done with math symbols]" His notes are worthless within minutes. Where if I could get them to draw a picture (labeled) and show the math, the notes are helpful.

If the students do not take worthwhile notes, then I am forced to supplement this but doing the notes for them. (I find it interesting that I am watching the Dog Whisperer as I write this. Am I creating the problem? Or acerbating it?

We have been told we don't have to buy paper next year. I am afraid this means limited copying. So I am trying to find ways around this.

Any ideas?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"They're ours again"

Just saw a Walmart ad: "It's summer and they're ours again." The visual was kids playing in the yard.

Are there parents who really feel that way, because it sounds very us-against-them with the parents on one side and the school on the other.

Or that's how I read it.

My stupid cat got into a real fix today. He was scratching his ear with his hind foot - and got stuck. I noticed he'd quit moving, with his leg in a weird way - then he started to cry. Apparently his claws were stuck on something in his ear. So I extricated him and checked him out. He's ok.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Professional Development Meme 2009

I haven't been tagged but took this from Miss Teacha at Confessions from the Couch.


Summer can be a great time for professional development. It is an opportunity to learn more about a topic, read a particular work or the works of a particular author, beef up an existing unit of instruction, advance one’s technical skills, work on that advanced degree or certification, pick up a new hobby, and finish many of the other items on our ever-growing To Do Lists. Let’s make Summer 2009 a time when we actually get to accomplish a few of those things and enjoy the thrill of marking them off our lists.

The Rules

NOTE: You do NOT have to wait to be tagged to participate in this meme.

1. Pick 1-3 professional development goals and commit to achieving them this summer.
2. For the purposes of this activity the end of summer will be Labor Day (09/07/09).
3. Post the above directions along with your 1-3 goals on your blog.
4. Title your post Professional Development Meme 2009 and link back/trackback to http://clifmims.com/blog/archives/2447.
5. Use the following tag/ keyword/ category on your post: pdmeme09.
6. Tag 5-8 others to participate in the meme.
7. Achieve your goals and “develop professionally.”
8. Commit to sharing your results on your blog during early or mid-September

My summer PD goals:

1. Read Spencer Kagan's book on Cooperative Learning
2. Plan a different way to teach a repeater course. (They've been taught the standard way and it didn't work - I want to shake it up.)
3. Sort through my "stuff" (paper and books) to be more efficient.
4. Read Teaching Mathematics in the Block by Gilkey and Hunt.
5. Find someone to discuss the books with.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I had a student ask me last year: how many times can you take a high school course before they'll just pass you? I reminded him that I had said before that you can take high school courses as many times as you want to until you turn 21'

Seems like it would be easier (more interesting) to just do the work and pass it.